For more than 70 years, LCRA has responded to Texans needing reliable and low-cost electric transmission service.
LCRA TSC’s network of owned and operated facilities − totaling more than 4,800 miles of transmission lines and 330 substations − provides a vital link among Texas’s power plants and the statewide, interconnected power grid. Our lines are part of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) transmission network that serves generators and retail loads in most of Texas.
Wind Power and CREZ
Renewable energy goals for the State of Texas passed by the 79th Legislature in 2005 required the state’s energy generation portfolio to include more wind power and other renewable energy. Toward that end, ERCOT studied options for meeting the state’s renewable goals. In its Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) Transmission Optimization Study, ERCOT described various CREZ “zones” where the wind blows in West Texas and the Panhandle and can be harnessed to generate “clean,” renewable energy. Additional transmission lines are necessary to move that new energy into homes and businesses throughout the state.
LCRA TSC is one of several transmission service providers selected by the Public Utility Commission of Texas to build just over 427 of the 3,593 miles of new 345-kilovolt lines required to move the electricity from one part of the state to another. The total costs for all CREZ projects are estimated at about $6.9 billion; LCRA TSC's portion is estimated at about $586 million.
Unbundling under 1999 law
A 1999 state law changed how LCRA and other electric utilities manage and operate their transmission facilities. The law required utilities to “unbundle” or separate their electric generation and transmission operations as part of preparations for a deregulated retail electric market. The law also allowed LCRA to expand its transmission facilities and operations beyond its traditional 55-county Central Texas electric service area.
LCRA created LCRA Transmission Services Corporation as a nonprofit corporation for transmission operations. On Jan. 1, 2002, it transferred to LCRA TSC ownership of its transmission facilities to satisfy the state’s unbundling requirements. LCRA TSC has no employees, but contracts with LCRA staff to operate and maintain the facilities and provide other services.
As with other transmission systems in Texas, LCRA TSC is regulated by the PUC and coordinates its operations with ERCOT, which manages the power grid that serves most of the state.
Central Texas Area Growth
LCRA TSC transmission facilities are located statewide throughout the ERCOT region. In the Central Texas area, LCRA TSC has facilities that help support the electric loads (electricity demand) of more than 40 transmission customers. These transmission customers include municipalities, electric cooperatives, other transmission providers and generators.
Of these transmission customers, 42 are direct-connect customers (DCC) of LCRA TSC. These DCCs serve load in approximately 30 counties in the Central Texas area. Based on load information provided by ERCOT, the county map of the Central Texas area shown above indicates the compounded average growth rate over a seven-year period between 2009 and 2016 for each of the counties where DCCs serve load.
LCRA TSC monitors this growth to ensure that its transmission facilities, including new transmission lines and new substations, are provided to meet its obligations regarding reliable electric service.